Sunday, May 28, 2017


Stuff and people that are forged over years become hardened in the ways.  Like an old dependable tool that has been maintained, stored properly and comes out to play when needed or wanted. The tool never ever lets down on its function and often out performs the new shiny tool hanging on the shelf at the local hardware store. It bears the time to keep clean, well-oiled and stored like art on a wall. Stories told visually of times past through moments of simple observation.

I told my son the other day that a friend of his, whom he introduced us to a few years back, is the "salt of the earth." He agreed. Old-fashion backbone work ethic, honesty and trust-worthiness.  These are people you want to walk with you down dark alleys or stand next to you when the line in the sand is drawn. Them for you and you for them.

We have hired this young man to work for us from time to time this season. Hard to find good help. Maybe even impossible. Through a horde of black flies a few days ago, we worked with him thatching our lawns, raking and tossing the debris. And if the work was not unpleasant enough, the black flies added that unnecessary annoyance through out the day. We waved them off, tried to spray them off and killed the little buggers left and right as they landed on us. The young man explained to us that black flies are a sign of lots of near by fresh water. Unlike mosquitoes that spawn in stagnant water, black flies need fresh clean water as part of their life cycle. No black flies during these 40 days of their life cycle is a sign of a lack of clean water. There is order in the universe and all God's creatures play a part.

Yesterday, he worked pulling, cutting and hauling out a large pine tree he fell this past winter. He has the logging tractor, tools and skill sets to make this look easy. He also bounds through the woods like a bobcat. I have never ever had the physical presences to bound through the woods. Three ten-foot lengths, near the trunk of the tree, were hauled to a near by sawyer for becoming 1 x 6's.

 Fresh cut 1 x 6 x 10' pine @ $1.50 each. 

The young sawyer is a friend of his and I enjoyed watching them talk of life they live around the work they do. I joked with the sawyer that I will be in the next day at 08:00 to pick up the lumber. He shot back that he would be up at 06:00 to make sure he has it done. I think he was serious and I would not be surprised to get a call here in the next half hour saying the boards are ready for pick up. He knew I was teasing, but the look in his eye was one of a friendly challenge. 

On our final drive to dump the remain logs and brush, our young friend stopped his truck and pointed to a fork on the one lane dirt road. He said that when he was 12 years old, his father would drop him off early in the morning there. He had is .22 rifle and plenty of ammunition. Sandwiches and snacks were packed as he would spent the day in the back woods hunting squirrels and hiking the  hills and valleys. At sunset, his dad would return to pick him up. 

The story was too short for me. I wanted more. I could see him standing there as his father dropped him off. Adjusting his rifle, pack and turning to the trails for the days adventure. A day in a New England youngster's life, 25 years ago. 

Today he lives off-grid and is about as happy as a person can be. Works his own schedule, manages his own life and has more work to do that he can get done. He is wanting to expand by hiring another worker. Said he is a week behind his work schedule already. We have offered up his name, number and work ethic to others seeking someone who can get a job done around a house and property. On his first job, the party he was working for quadrupled their order after just the first day he was on the job. Now he has landed another large job about an hour away. Being around this young man is a treat.



A plaque my wife and I left at the Wall a few years back over Memorial Day Weekend in Memory of Arnold Nakkerud. 

Arnie is in the top row, second for the left. I am in the bottom row left.

I met Arnie in Fort Walters Texas upon arriving for flight training in 1966. He and I were room mates through that portion of flight training and again in the last half of training at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. Memories and too many stories surface this morning honoring his friendship, times we spent together and in memory of him giving his life flying helicopters in Vietnam, 1967.

Arnie was the very first person I ever met who lived life to the fullest every minute of every day. I often put his friendship into a frame work of the "first real person I ever met." Not a day went by during the months of flight school where he did have me shaking my head or laughing at his living. He was a mixture of James Dean, Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando on any given day. 

I'll not forget him riding with me on a student cross-country flight, unhooking his seat belt and standing on the skid, peeing as we were flying the first leg of our flight together. He was laughing and I was worrying how I would be explain how he fell out of the helicopter. All-night poker games and pool playing were as normal with him and a few others as a good night's sleep was for me. Chasing a beer tossed from my MG midget to him following behind on his motorcycle. Yes, he could catch them in mid-flight. Our weekend trips in my Corvette to Panama City during the last months of our training. Throwing a lit bag of fire crackers into our bunkroom and then closing the door on me at 4 AM. I doubt I ever laughed so hard and was so pissed off at the same moment in my life as I was that morning. But we were the best of friends and shared good life and living during 1966.

God Bless Arnie, 50 years seems like the blink of an eye, but you are not and never will be forgotten.


Her mentioned that friends' sons and daughters were graduating last weekend. Some from high school, most from college. Master's degree in Chemical Engineering and so forth.  Actually impressive some of the young people we have come to know who have recently graduated.  They are amongst the few graduates whose college degrees are worth more than what was spent on college. That is not the case though with many of the liberal arts or general majors earning degrees this year. Stories abound around the nation of the realities of life in college and educations vs debt acquired vs good paying job opportunities.

I laughed when she finished mentioning the graduates. She asked what I was laughing at and I said that just this morning, son left show up on the end of a 100' sling dangling from a helicopter. He and his linemen crew have been taken to work and back for the past 14 days straight as their work site is not accessible by vehicles. He checks in several times a week and there is always excitement in his voice at the work they are doing. At days end, I can hear the exhaustion from a full day of this kind of work building and maintaining the power structures across northern New England. He is a member of an elite crew in this neck of the woods and I am a proud father.

He stopped by late yesterday afternoon to sit and visit. Showed us a few photos of him and the crew leaving the yard on the end of the sling line. Sixty-pound backpack and on his way to work. I have done a few fun things in life but never ever hung from a sling line from a helicopter. After awhile, he gets up from the lawn chair and says it is time to go. Dinner, time to love the dog and cat and get ready for tomorrow. He throws out his arms to give me a hug and I get lost in this long, tall drink of water holding me. Not an ounce of fat on the boy and words cannot tell how well the world is in his arms. He has, since day one, always lived life according to his perspectives and has always did it his way. Always! 

He says "I love ya, dad" and disappears down the driveway.



The bombing in Manchester this past week is old news now. The running of the same cell phone videos has worn out our TV screens and the underbelly steams with diversity and a serious worry for how Ms. Grande is feeling. Twenty-two dead on her watch. No it is not her fault in any way shape or form. But her name is forever linked in stone with this moment. I am hopeful she will  stand tall and woman up in her responses. But all this looks different through my eyes and being worth millions of dollars and having millions of followers has to shape young perspectives differently. I wish her the best of luck in navigating these waters in the months and years ahead.

Other celebrities want to be in front of stories like this with some quintessential statement healing the world. Heart hands in he mirrors. I wonder how being right there in the middle of this bombing and wearing the carnage would evoke heart hands. Maybe it does? But I doubt the folks touched directly by this tragedy were singing songs of love, peace and coming together this past week.

My father had a way of teaching me. I do not have memories of him telling me not to do this, nor to do that nor preaching right and wrong. I remember dinners together, parents coming home dead dog tired from work and weekends with a family drive down the coast with a cooler full of homemade potato salad and fried chicken.  Most all memories were of being together and doing. Father taught me life and living through different doors and view points. He was so wise as to understand that if I learned "it" myself it would be a life-long lesson and become a part of me. If I earned "it", I would appreciate it over having it handed to me.

The older folks who often came and went through out home also taught using similar techniques.  Lessons learned the hard way set more deeply than lessons learned the easy way. My adult teachers always seemed to know the answers to the questions. They laid paths in my way but the decisions were mine to make. 

Manchester is another lesson for the world. Hard lesson; an "in your face lesson" for sure.

 Old Remus 479  teaches about this the way dad might have taught.  

"Ah those irrepressible muzzies and their madcap hijinx. Oh sure, mass death of innocents is annoying, but other people's lives are a small price to pay for the wonders of diversity. No sense in getting all wrapped 'round the axle, it's nothing that can't be fixed with mops and buckets."


This past week, DHS Secretary Kelly says we would all stay home if we knew what he knows about terrorism. Well, we are not going to stay home and we know about terrorism. 

Heads up, live your life and for goodness sake, seek some old fashion humor and laughing in the process. Do not back peddle and thanks for visiting this week.


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